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October 28, 2013          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Lead Manager, Retirement Plan Services Participant
T. Rowe Price
in MD

WRIS Relationship Manager I
Wilmington Trust, an affiliate of M&T Bank
in AZ

Client Relationship Associate (Plan Specialist II); Cedar Rapids, IA and West Chester, OH
in IA, OH

Defined Contrib Analyst I, II, III
The Standard
in OH

Client Relationship Manager
The Allocation Company, Inc.
in LA, NM, OK, TX

Administrative Assistant
BFP Associates, Inc.
in CT, MA

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Webcasts and Conferences

Health Benefits Strategies for a New Era
October 29, 2013 WEBCAST
(United Benefit Advisors)

Fiduciary and Legal Review
October 31, 2013 WEBCAST
(NH Hicks)

2013 Fourth Quarter Update
November 6, 2013 WEBCAST
(McKay Hochman Co., Inc.)

Understanding Cash Balance Plans
November 7, 2013 WEBCAST
(ASC Institute)

Safe Harbor 401(k)s: Plan Design & EPCRS
November 19, 2013 WEBCAST
(McKay Hochman Co., Inc.)

What's the Deal? The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Labor Contract Negotiations
November 21, 2013 in CA
(Jones Day)

ERISA Workshop 2013 - Syracuse
November 22, 2013 in NY
(SunGard Relius)

View All Webcasts and Conferences

  LinkedIn   Twitter   Facebook Hand-picked links to the web's best news articles,
official guidance, jobs, webcasts and more.

Defined Contribution Plan Re-Enrollment: A Fiduciary Imperative? (PDF)
"Evidence is mounting that the self-directed, do-it-yourself approach to DC investing is resulting in poorly constructed participant portfolios. While auto-enrollment directs new participants to a QDIA option such as a Target Date fund, existing participants' portfolios, often chosen years ago, remain misallocated. This paper looks at: 1. The role a re-enrollment campaign can play in guiding all participants to an appropriate asset allocation. 2. Potential roadblocks to implementing re-enrollment and ways to overcome them. 3. Key elements of successful implementation." (Russell Investments)  


Are You Prepared for a DOL Investigation? Download your free report.

Sponsored by Bloomberg BNA

Knowing what to expect during a DOL investigation can help you be better prepared. Download your complimentary report from Bloomberg BNA to get an understanding of the investigative process and better identify areas of compliance.

Protecting Small Plan Fiduciaries from ERISA Liabilities
"Who can argue after all with separating plan sponsor from fiduciary functions in committee meetings, keeping C-suite folk of publicly traded companies off committees and setting up separate committees for administrative and investment responsibilities? The problem is this advice is not of much value to small employers who, for example, may not have enough staff for even one committee or will find it very hard to fathom what the difference is between a fiduciary responsibility or a settlor one or why it matters." (Fiduciary Plan Governance, LLC)  

Pensions Muscle Into Reinsurance in Wagers on Catastrophe
"The $30 trillion global pension fund industry is starting to muscle in on traditional reinsurers, financing protection against earthquakes and tornadoes as interest rates near record lows spur the search for yield.... In a catastrophe bond, insurers pay buyers some of the premiums collected for protection against damage from natural disasters. In exchange for above-market yields, investors assume the risk of a disaster during the life of their bonds, with their principal used to cover damage caused if the catastrophe is severe enough." (Bloomberg)  

Will Catastrophe Bonds Wipe Out Pensions?
"[Bloomberg reports that] 'The $30 trillion global pension fund industry is starting to muscle in on traditional reinsurers, financing protection against earthquakes and tornadoes as interest rates near record lows spur the search for yield.' ... I understand the appeal of investing in catastrophe bonds but like any new asset class, get very nervous when the pension herd moves into uncharted territory. Some know what they're doing but most are going to get burned investing in perilous paper and their collective action could increase systemic risk in the insurance industry[.]" (Pension Pulse)  

Wirehouses Find a Way Through 401(k) Regulation
"Many expected wirehouses to be down for the count after those regulations, since their reps -- employees of the firms -- would appear to owe their first duty to their employer, and not the 401(k) clients. However, wirehouses have taken to segmenting their field force, appointing a handful of specialist advisers to provide fiduciary advice, provided they meet training requirements and asset levels." (InvestmentNews)  


The Most Common Mistakes Made by Qualified Plan Sponsors and How to Fix Them - November 21 Webinar

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

This live webinar explains the EPCRS program and the advantages, disadvantages and risks associated with each correction option. Registration discount for BenefitsLink readers.

Retirement Portfolios: Shifting from Accumulation to Distribution
"What [the accompanying] chart clearly demonstrates is, during the distribution phase, systematic portfolio withdrawals exacerbate losses due to the compounding effects of negative cash flow. Furthermore, to recover from such losses requires a materially more robust -- and unlikely -- future investment return. The resulting reduced capital base, therefore, can result in unrecoverable losses and financial failure.... Here's the point: sequence matters! Over varying time periods or with different withdrawal rates, the sequence of returns will have a major effect." (Paladin Research & Registry)  

Pension Funds Worry That Restrictions on Fossil Fuels Could Put Investments at Risk
"The International Energy Agency last year warned that if humanity is to have any hope of avoiding catastrophic climate change, a third of the world's fossil fuel reserves must be put off limits until 2050. That prompted HSBC Global Research to estimate that some oil giants could lose up to half their market value.... Now 70 investors that control $3 trillion in global assets want to know what 45 multinational oil, coal and mining companies intend to do about $6 trillion in potentially 'stranded assets.'" (Quartz)  

Is a Cash Balance Plan Right for My Business?
"[C]ash balance plans have the potential to provide for solid retirement security and shelter greater income from taxation to increase retirement wealth. The big question for employers remains how to know if adding a cash balance plan is right for them." (Retirement Town Hall)  

Auto-Enrollment Linked to Lower Employer-Match Levels
"[W]hile auto-enrollment policies have been successful at raising participation rates (they also help plans satisfy nondiscrimination tests by including more lower-paid workers), they may not boost workers' total retirement savings. If sponsors prioritize keeping their overall compensation costs at a constant level, matches may be reduced." (Thompson SmartHR Manager)  

Ninth Circuit Reaffirms That Incorporation of SEC Filings by Reference in SPDs Is Fiduciary Act
"On October 23, 2013, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reissued its opinion in Harris v. Amgen, adding that the incorporation of SEC filings by reference in a summary plan description (SPD) qualifies as an act performed in a fiduciary capacity under ERISA." [Harris v. Amgen, Inc., No. 10-56014 (9th Cir. Oct. 23, 2013)] (Practical Law Company)  

A More Dynamic Approach to Spending for Investors in Retirement (PDF)
"Of the many challenges investors face when deciding how to spend from their retirement savings, one of the most important is that of choosing a portfolio spending strategy that best balances investors' two competing goals: [1] maintaining their desired level of current spending; and [2] increasing or preserving their portfolios to support future spending. This paper reviews two of the most common spending strategies and introduces ... a hybrid ... that [the authors] view as a more dynamic approach.... [A] simulation analysis ... highlight[s] the trade-offs of these strategies." (Vanguard)  

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Eliminating Pension Plans Starting Dec. 31
"The companies plan to transition employees into new retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s, by offering a series of payments over the next five years. 'FHFA has directed us to make these changes to manage the cost of the retirement benefits at a more predictable rate and to limit long-term liabilities,' the memo to Freddie Mac staff said." (The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

The Issue That Divides Democrats: Public Pension Reform
"The Democrats' theater of battle is not primarily in Washington -- it's the state capitals and cities -- and the issue is public employee pension reform. It's not a sexy subject. Even ominous actuarial tables are more likely to induce glazed eyes and yawns than memorable battle cries. Yet what up for grabs is the very quality of life in some of America's most iconic cities and suburbs. Typically, reform is being led by Democratic mayors. It's being resisted by leaders of public employee unions, who are also Democrats." (RealClearPolitics)  

Phoenix Council Sets New Pension Reform Vote Amid Gridlock
"A group of City Council members continue to push a package of modest reforms the council rejected on a 5-4 vote during a contentious meeting ... The council broke into three sharply divided ideological factions over how best to curtail pension boosting.... A person's final average income factors heavily in the calculation to determine his or her annual pension payment, and some top managers have boosted their pension by tens of thousands of dollars." (AZCentral)  

Text of District Court Opinion Refusing to Recognize Federal Common Law Negligence Claim Against Multiemployer Pension Plan Trustees (PDF)
"According to DGA, granting the Trustees complete immunity with respect to their alleged tortious mismanagement of the Pension Plan's assets cannot be the result Congress intended when it adopted the Multiemployer Pension Plan and Amendment Act of 1980 (MPAA), and, therefore, there is an 'awkward gap in the statutory scheme.' ... The Court disagrees. The Sixth Circuit has not recognized a federal common law cause of action by employers against trustees for negligence, and this Court declines to create one." [Digeronimo Aggregates, LLC (DGA) v. Zemla et al, No. 1:13-CV-1208 (N.D. Ohio Oct. 25, 2013)] (United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio)  


How to Break an American City: Ignore Cost of Retiree Healthcare and Pensions
"The National League of Cities ... took a poll of its members in 2012 to determine the most popular methods for coping with personnel costs at a time of economic stagnation and declining tax revenue.... At the bottom [of the list:] Changing union contracts, cutting back health care benefits, and reforming pension funds. This despite the fact that seven out of 10 city finance directors said public-employee benefits were having significant negative impacts on their budgets ... Officials are unable or unwilling to confront the root causes of municipal decrepitude." (Reason.com)  


New York Governor Cuomo Doing Nothing to End Pension Spiking
"[New York's] superintendent of Financial Services, Ben Lawsky ... is identifying ways for the pension funds to flag agencies where overtime abuse is severe, hoping managers will then fix the problem. That could help.... Cuomo hasn't been willing to take the big steps, such as insisting on the common-sense reform that pensions be based on salaries excluding overtime." (New York Post)  


Twenty Myths About Public-Sector Pension Plans
"After outlining the requirements for real pension reform -- how states and local governments can operate pension plans that do not threaten today's taxpayers with ever-increasing contribution levels or pass the costs of today's workers on to future generations -- [the authors] describe the 20 myths that make such reform more difficult.... They range from misinterpretations of commonly used terms (such as 'actuarially sound' and 'cash-balance plan') to claims about the relative merits of defined benefit plans (exaggerated) and the risks of defined contribution plans (also exaggerated)." (Manhattan Institute for Policy Research)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

State Taxes for Married Same-Sex Couples, Updated October 26, 2013
"The chart, State Taxes and Married Same-Sex Couples, has now been updated to reflect the fact that taxing authorities in the following states have announced their interpretation of the filing status that married same-sex couples must use for state income tax purposes: Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Ohio, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, [and] Wisconsin. In addition, New Jersey now allows same-sex marriage, and Oregon now recognizes same-sex marriages from other states." (Calhoun Law Group)  

New Jersey Becomes 14th State to Extend Marriage Rights to Same-Sex Couples
"New Jersey is the first state since Windsor to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. The New Jersey Supreme Court noted that Windsor and subsequent agency rulings 'changed the landscape' by providing federal benefits to married same-sex couples and causing the state's civil union law to no longer achieve its purpose of providing equal rights and benefits to same-sex couples." (Thomson Reuters / EBIA)  

Dodd-Frank Mandated Disclosure of the CEO Pay Ratio: The SEC's Proposed Rules (PDF)
"Global companies with large overseas manufacturing facilities will have much higher ratios than companies with only domestic operations. Companies are not permitted to adjust part-time worker pay, so those with a large percentage of part-time or seasonal workers, such as retail and hospitality companies, will report much higher ratios than companies with only full-time workers. Companies whose ratios are skewed due to these factors may supplement their disclosures or provide additional ratios they believe are informative." (Wilkins Finston Law Group)  

ISS 2014 Draft Policies Include Significant Change to Pay for Performance Analysis
"ISS will simplify its primary quantitative screen, the Relative Degree of Alignment (RDA) test, which compares the pay and performance of the company's CEO to that of its ISS peer group, so that it is measured over a three-year period only rather than one-year and three-year periods ... The changes appear to be a response to criticism ... since 2011 that a single three-year measure of pay versus performance is more indicative of long-term performance and one-year pay and performance are effectively double-counted under the current policy." (HR Policy Association)  

Press Releases

ASPPA Honors Richard Block with ACOPA's Burrows Achievement Award
American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

ASPPA Presents William Karbon with Distinguished Educator's Award
American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

ASPPA Welcomes Robert Kaplan to Board of Directors
American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

ASPPA Presents Sal Tripodi with Prestigious Eidson Award
American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

David Lipkin Inaugurated as 45th President of ASPPA
American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

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